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Birdsong
Birdsong

by Sebastien Faulks adpated by Rachel Wagstaff
Directed by Mike Higginson

7th to 14th November 2020

 

Audition Date TBA

Director Mike Higginson:  m 07789 278984 mhigginson2015@hotmail.com

Described by the British Theatre Guide as “Heartbreakingly beautiful, powerful and poignant”, Birdsong is the critically acclaimed stage show, based on the world famous novel by Sebastian Faulks. The play has had limited availability on the amateur circuit so we are very privileged to be able to perform it.

In Northern France, in 1910, a young Englishman Stephen Wraysford begins a passionate and dangerous love affair with the beautiful (but married) Isabelle Azaire, with consequences neither of them can foresee.

When war comes to the scene of this past romance, Stephen is tortured by memories of Isabelle, as he must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground, tunnels dug by the Sappers under his command.

This is a mesmerising story of love and passion, courage and loss, not only for Stephen and Isabelle but also for those around them, both in the trenches and in the town of Amiens.

Casting: The play is written to be played by 7 men and 4 women but with some doubling outside the principal parts. My starting point will be the suggested doubling in the script but I intend to be flexible so please be prepared to be flexible too!

Characters (with, I stress, playing ages):

Stephen Wraysford (Lieutenant) – age 25-35

Isabelle Azaire- age 25-40, elegant and kind-hearted

Jeanne Fourmentier- age 20-35, Isabelle’s younger sister, “family likeness” will be helpful.

Lisette - age 14-20, Isabelle’s daughter (will double as the prostitute)

Gregoire- age 14-18, Isabelle’s son (will double as Tipper)

Monsieur Azaire- age 40 -60 (will double)

Berard- age 40-60- M. Azaire’s neighbour, decent part (with possible add-ons)

The Soldiers (all except Jack will have other roles)

Jack Firebrace - age 25-35, a key tragic figure throughout. It will be helpful if he can lead trench songs.

Turner – age 30-50- a small part in the trenches, but will probably double as either Azaire or Captain Gray which are larger parts

Shaw- age 25-40- the old hand in the trenches.

Evans- age 25-40- Welsh accent required

Tipper –age 18-20. The new recruit. Will double as the teenage Gregoire

Please Note:

All of the soldiers in the trenches must be able to crawl on hands and knees and be prepared to be blown up!

Isabelle and the prostitute will show some bare flesh to the audience, but we will agree what is within your comfort zone and likely to be back view only.

Technical: With multiple settings, the set will be complex and multi-layered, with loads of imaginative lighting, pyros and many loud sound effects required. 

Costume: a mix of uniforms and costume of the well-dressed French gentry of the 1910’s.

Rehearsals: We will start no later than Monday 20 September (with the usual pattern of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and some Sundays) but it will be vital that you avoid conflicting commitments/holidays, or please declare them upfront!

Audition Pieces:

The Soldiers: Pages 10- 13 and (including Capt. Gray) pages 59-61

Stephen/Isabelle: Pages 24-26

Stephen/Jeanne: Pages 27-28

Stephen/Lisette (including Berard): Pages 49-50

Azaire (and family): Page 55 (bottom) to top of page 58

NB. Particularly for the men, as long as you have read for one of the soldiers and one other part (e.g. Gray, Azaire, Berard, Gregoire) then I will be able to work out what doubling will work best according to your age and character.

Cast 
 
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